This quaint little café located on Khader Nawaz Khan Road might go unnoticed on this busy street. The décor reminds one of a Parisian bistro, with pastel interiors and soft lighting — the book racks, colourful plant holders and shelves lined with vintage models of bikes and cycles are pleasing.
From the word go, the food appears very simple but the chef has subtly played around with flavours. The bruschetta platter, for instance, is a powerhouse of spice, salt, tanginess, crunch and sweetness. Three variants are available: Olives and chilli flakes, which is to be eaten first, followed by tomato salsa and finally feta cheese, almonds, caramelised honey and blueberries. The marriage of these tastes tantalises the mouth and leaves you wanting for more.
All the ingredients used to make the dishes are sourced locally, it is said. The fried chicken starter is also a delight for it is crunchy, well-cooked and juicy; certainly a refresher from all the fried chicken normally available, deep-fried in stale oil.
The main courses are broadly divided into pizzas, pastas, burgers and wraps and it is tough to tell which is better than the other. Fresh, thin and crunchy woodfire pizzas with unique toppings surely give the commercial kind a run for its money. Also, Café Siciliano follows a strict Halal policy so bacon gets replaced by turkey strips. Now, this might disappoint fans of spaghetti carbonara. However, its mild flavours and comparatively lesser salt provide a change after all that cheese. Then again, there’s always chilli flakes and herbs to spruce things up, which the restaurant provides in plenty for each table.
Now, coming to the best part, the freshly made gelatos. Interestingly, the café is probably the only one in the city to serve liquid nitrogen ice creams and their gelatos too are nothing like what’s already available. Light, melt-in-the mouth and loaded with flavour, the pistachio, blood orange and blueberry gelatos are must-tries. However, the flavours change according to the seasonal produce and are not constant. Last but not least, one can get a taste of Palani in this café in Chennai — yes, they have a panchamritham gelato and it is to die for!